A lengthy discussion led New Alexandria Borough officials to cancel the town’s annual Halloween parade.
Citing the area’s recent rise in COVID-19 cases, council members at their meeting Wednesday voted 3-1 to nix the yearly parade.
Council member Brian Sterrett opposed, while Herb Morrow abstained.
Trick or Treating, however, will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31 in the borough.
“In my opinion, I think the parade is a bad idea,” said council member Jennifer Graham, who voted to cancel the parade. “I think the idea of trying to keep these kids apart...and providing what might be necessary might be — at this time period, this year — more trouble than it’s worth.”
Officials also cited liability concerns in the event of someone potentially contracting COVID-19 through parade participation.
Sue Sterrett, borough activities committee chairwoman, suggested requiring participants to sign a waiver, but solicitor Brian Cavanaugh expressed issue since children will be participating in the parade.
Council president Tim Ruane voted to cancel the parade to “err on the side of caution,” while Morrow abstained stating, “It’s obviously a bad idea, but it’s like cancelling Christmas. I don’t want to be the guy who cancels it.”
Council on Wednesday also approved preliminary changes to four ordinances relating to nuisances, lessors, grass and vegetation, and fireworks. All changes will be advertised prior to final approval.
Changes to the four ordinances updated the minimum code violation fines to $300.
Officials voted to update an ordinance permitting residents to set off fireworks each year from 6 p.m. to midnight on July 1-7, and from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to 12:30 a.m. Jan. 1.
Pennsylvania passed House Bill 542 into law in 2017, which prohibits fireworks from being ignited or discharged on a public or private property without expressed permission of the property owner; from or within a motor vehicle or building; toward a motor vehicle or building; within 150 feet of an occupied structure, whether or not a person is actually present, nor while the person is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
Another update relates to an ordinance mandating that grass be kept below 6 inches, with a change now enforcing that rule upon all borough properties — vacant or occupied.
Other changes include updating definitions for nuisance properties and how lessors are required to report occupancy changes to the borough’s wage tax collector.
In other business, council briefly discussed the 2021 budget. Ruane suggested allocating funds to purchase new street signs within the borough, and he also proposed for council to look into holiday decorations and lighting along Main Street. Graham encouraged council to consider funding for new playground equipment at Children’s Play Park off Church Street tailored for younger children.
Ruane told the Bulletin following Wednesday’s meeting that the preliminary 2021 budget shows no tax increase.
“We saved a lot of money in changes that we made in the past year… which substantially reduced our monthly bills,” he said.
At a July council meeting, Ruane said switching to LED streetlights last year has cut borough lighting expenses by roughly 47%.